"Buy my book about the Roussillon on Amazon UK in paperback or eBook or black & white version, and Amazon USA: paperback or eBook or black & white. OR BUY IT DIRECT FROM ME (UK & EU only). Also available in the US from Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback or eBook. For other countries, tap on the link above the cover photo (below right)." Richard Mark James

30 January 2008

Languedoc: Domaine Canet Valette, Saint-Chinian

Domaine Canet Valette
One forgotten yet plush red (re)discovered from the tasting table at Millésime Bio organic wine show held in Perpignan back in January 2008. I've tried a couple of more recent vintages of their wines since then, sometime in early 2010 I think, and wasn't so sure about them. Natural classics or faulty and overpriced? Discuss in less than ten words... I'll dig out my notes again, if I can find them, and might add a few inspiring words at some point in the not too distant!
2006 Ivresses... Saint-Chinian (90% Grenache + Syrah Mourvèdre) - ripe lush and vibrant with attractive liquorice and tobacco notes; shows real depth of fruit v big tannins, well balanced despite its power and grip. 90

UPDATED Jan 2014: see in-depth interview and profile on Marc Valette, with several new and old vintages tasted, in my mega Saint Chinian supplement published HERE.

Roussillon: Domaine Jorel, St-Paul de Fenouillet

Manuel Jorel has seven organically farmed hectares, with three more undergoing 'conversion' (a three year monitored period without synthetic chemicals before being officially certified, so to speak; not that I'm implying that organic growers are mad!), around the village of St-Paul lying on the western side of the stunningly raw Fenouillèdes area. Jorel also makes a lovely Maury fortified VDN wine as well as red & white Vins de Pays; probably because they only have some superb old-vine Grenache (red and white varieties) and Carignan and no Syrah (I'm guessing as I haven't been there yet), meaning the wines don't fit silly AOC CDRV rules. Anyway, some of his cuvées have the name of the parcel it came from, so you can't get much more terroir-ist than that. This one was tasted at Millésime Bio wine show 2008 (January 08 Perpignan):

2005 Pétaillat Vin de Pays des Pyrénées Orientales (Grenache) - attractive 'sweet' and rich liquorice and tobacco aromas/flavours with quite firm tannin-ed mouth-feel, lovely finish and style. €10 89-91

More Jorel wines filed under Millésime Bio 2006.

28 Rue Arago, 66220 St-Paul de Fenouillet - www.domainejorel.fr

Languedoc: Domaine de la Prose, St-Georges d'Orques

Domaine de la Prose

A forgotten plush red (re)discovered from the tasting table at Millésime Bio 2008 organic wine show (Perpignan Jan 08). I didn't get around to following up with the producer on their stand or writing them up until now, six months later, although it isn't in danger of fading away! So 'one to watch' perhaps or 'one to call in on' when next in the area...

2005 Les Cadières Coteaux du Languedoc St-Georges d'Orques (Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre Cinsault Carignan) - ripe and smoky nose moves on to liquorice, raisin and tobacco flavours; grippy tannins v 'sweet' fruit, quite elegant. 88-90 


Roussillon: Domaine Marcevol, Vinça

Guy Prédal is one of the Roussillon's rapidly swelling band of vocal supporters and practitioners of organic grape growing; Guy controversially although logically suggests that any future EC subsidies to help growers should only be for converting to organics. For more of his views, click on this link and scroll down to: "CRAV - 100 years of protest" (a piece I did for Decanter) or refer to my rather long and serious dissertation on the Roussillon (will be re-published under 'more wine words'). His 10 hectares (25 acres) of vineyards lie on the sparse (in terms of vineyards anyway, this is about as far west as they go in the region) and wild terrain to the west and north of the town of Vinça, where you'll find his cellar.

These wines were sampled at the 2008 Millésime Bio wine show (Jan. 08 Perpignan):
2006 Carignan - nice blackcurrant and cherry fruit with liquorice tones; fresh, tight and medium-bodied finish. 85
2005 L'Alouette Côtes du Roussillon (Grenache Syrah Carignan) - fuller and juicier than above with firm yet rounded mouth-feel, attractive style. 85+
2005 Tradition (Grenache Carignan) - more concentrated than above showing tobacco and liquorice style, lively and elegant v dry textured finish. 87
2005 Prestige (Syrah Carignan Grenache) - aromatic cherry and cassis notes give way to a closed and firm palate, nice tannins though v again that trademark 'freshness' and length. 87-89
2006 Oxo (100% Carignan) - aromatic floral black cherry fruit moves on to taut refreshing mouth-feel, elegant v concentrated style needing a couple of years to express itself. 89-91

164 Avenue Général de Gaulle, 66320 Vinça. Tel: 04 68 05 74 34, marcevolpredal@wanadoo.fr.

27 January 2008

Languedoc: Domaine Coston, Terrasses du Larzac

Domaine Coston

Joseph, Marie-Thérèse and affable brothers Philippe and Jean-Marc Coston were a cooperative grower family until creating this off-the-beaten-track estate in 2002, the year they released their first (mostly red) wines. Nine hectares (22 acres) of vineyards have been certified organic since 1999 and six are in the second year of conversion (meaning another year before they can be 'certified'), all located around the village of Puéchabon and neighbouring Aniane (home to Mas Daumas Gassac among others), some of which fall into the new Terrasses du Larzac subzone (click there for a few more comments on that: something I'm a bit ambivalent about although there certainly are some very good wines coming from this area).
I first discovered the Coston's wines a couple of years ago at 
Millésime Bio 2006 and was impressed, especially considering they were showing only their second vintage. So I followed it up with a trip a few months later to this appealing neck of the woods. Range highlights include Les Garigoles, a hearty yet quite fine Languedoc red and a funky barrel-fermented white, which I tried again at Millésime Bio in Perpignan, January 2008 (see notes below). In terms of visiting, individuals and small groups at the max are preferred, as their cellar's rather compact. Ring in advance, as they don’t speak much English but a friend of theirs does (a teacher). Or catch them and several other local producers at the Aniane wine growers fair, usually held over the third weekend in July: www.salondesvinsdaniane.com.

2005 Coteaux du Languedoc white (Roussanne Grenache blanc, barrel fermented) - quite toasty nose still although it has nice creamy, perfumed and exotic fruit too; turning oily textured with fairly big finish. 87-89
2006 Vin de Pays red (Carignan Grenache Cabernet Franc) - attractive mix of peppery and rustic tones with a juicy-fruited v firm palate. 85
2004 Les Garigoles, Coteaux du Languedoc (Syrah Grenache 14%) - lovely nose showing 'garrigue' notes v liquoricey Grenache fruit, tobacco and raisin edges; firm tannins and power on the palate v quite elegant, well-balanced finish. 92
2004 Terrasses du Larzac red (similar varietal blend) - smoky and ripe raisin aromas, lovely liquorice fruit on the palate showing wild herb and tobacco leaf edges; solid grippy framework and finish. 90

And as mentioned from 
Millésime Bio 2006:
2003 Coteaux du Languedoc (Syrah, Grenache & Carignan) - lovely herbal spicy blackberry fruit, turning earthy with liquorice notes; quite tight fresh palate, showing grip and elegance with mint and black cherry on the length. 89+
2003 Coteaux du Languedoc, Les Garigoles (Syrah Grenache) - more complex and spicier than above, rich liquorice and hints of leather then tight firm mouth-feel, very light oak on top of ripe perfumed fruit, powerful framework yet balanced.90-92
2005 Coteaux du Languedoc blanc (Grenache Blanc Roussanne) - quite rich mealy and aromatic, citrus peel notes set against very light toast, apricot and cream; good mineral bite and length. 87-89


3 Route de Montpellier, 34150 Puéchabon. Tel: 04 67 57 48 96, www.domainecoston.fr.


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